Started by a young Nepali woman, Uma, in 2007, the Inspiration Society of Nepal is an orphanage that is home to around 20 children from infant up to 7 years old. The staff members include four caregivers, a nurse, a cook, a teacher, an accountant and a doctor who visits regularly from the best children’s hospital in Nepal. Many of the staff have been with ISN since the beginning.
ISN is now in its second location which is closer to that same children’s hospital, provides more space, includes a solar-powered hot water heater for showers, a multi-filter system for potable water, a small, but green yard space and is in a safe and secure neighborhood.
Uma explained to me that she chose the name Inspiration Society of Nepal after being inspired by her volunteer experiences at several other orphanages. Not only does ISN provide a home to children in need, it also serves as home to some of the caregivers who otherwise would not have a safe place to live. One caregiver in particular left an abusive husband and needed work. She now provides 24 hour attention to the infants at ISN and it is clear it is a mutually beneficial arrangement. The commitment she has to the children is reciprocated in ISN’s commitment to her.
It is obvious from my visit that this small and well-run organization functions very much as a family unit. Research has shown that multi-generational and multi-age institutions offer the most benefits to all age groups. ISN is a prime example of how a small group of committed individuals can create a thriving community for some of the most vulnerable members of a society.
In the absence of a permanent family solution, ISN offers the next best opportunity for children (and their adult caregivers) to thrive together in a close-knit environment. Institutional living is always a last resort and it is clear the children would benefit from a permanent family. Many of the children are eligible for adoption and will hopefully find permanency via international adoption.
Unfortunately, the public school system in Nepal is sorely lacking and therefore ISN pays the private school fees for children age 5 and older. The children celebrate many major Hindu and Buddhist holidays, as well as some western holiday like Christmas. ISN plans regular outings to places like the zoo as often as possible.
ISN receives no public funding and relies solely on private donations. Children’s Home Society has proudly supported ISN since shortly after it was founded in 2007.